The challenge of materialism
Believing in materialism is challenging. I struggle with it everyday.
I don’t struggle with what to buy because of advertising. I know that advertising is just junk they tell you that you need. I struggle because there are reasons to have things and they are just as valid as the reasons to not have things.
For example, I have shared before that I love the idea of minimalism. It has been very helpful for me to only have what I need. Yet on the other hand I also like being prepared. So part of me wants to buy things like a solar flashlight, water purifier and so on, and the other part says that buying things through fear is unwise.
I have struggled with this question all of my life. I know that when there has been an emergency like bad weather having a few things available brings peace of mind. Yet to be honest I have not used the majority of the things I have bought, which I’m very happy about, but it also shows it is a waste of money. I have to ask myself would I really want to live in a world with other survivalists and I know that I don’t wish to live in the forest in nature. At some point, you just have to admit defeat and let the natural end come.
I wish I could tell you I have resolved this issue. I look at evidence and weight probabilities all the time, but to be honest I don’t know anything about the future. Often my intuition is right about my future, but I have had conflicting dreams of my future. They range from living in a peaceful way with my family, to something I don’t wish to share.
Practically speaking having a few items for bad weather is reasonable. At what point does it not become unreasonable? When I first moved to Chicago I was very afraid of the traffic that was much different than I was used to. So I bought a Volvo a car that I thought at the time was safe. It kept me alive but then any other car would have as well since I was careful driver. I could have gotten hit but I didn’t, so in all honesty any car would have been fine.
Watching the survivalists videos on youtube it strikes me as crazy what they do. They think that they can defend against the entire world with their guns. If my life requires killing everyone that desperately threatens me, I don’t want that kind of existence. I will defend myself if I have no choice, but having dozens or even more weapons doesn’t strike me as a peaceful person.
To be clear, being materialistic means having confidence in things and saying that stuff is going to keep you safe. I don’t believe that. I don’t know how the world works, but force does not work. It didn’t work in wars, personal conflict or anything else. Materialism is fine when there is nothing better, but we have something better. We have a rich spiritual, emotional and intellectual culture. Why do we think having stuff is better than investing in civilization?
I don’t know how much stuff to buy but spending is a disease and stuff isn’t the cure.
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